Saturday, July 25, 2009

Case Study #11

And now we have an international query:

Dear Dr. Brian,

Why am I living in the only country in the world that sees fit to drive their cars on the left instead of the right side of the road. What this means is that I have to pay attention while driving and I don't like it. Please help.



And Dr. Brian responds:

Dearest Razzie,

We will dispense with my impulsive need to ascertain why you choose to name yourself after an expulsion of natural gas in a manner that is considered rude and offensive. We have more pressing issues to address. Another session, perhaps?

Now, this driving thing.

First, are you certain that you live in the only country in the world where people drive their cars on the left side of the road. I’m assuming you live in the UK, based on the crudely-drawn image of the Queen’s bum on the back of the envelope, the aroma of fish and chips wafting from the stationery, and the packet of matches from some pub known as “Ye Olde Snog and Shag”.

I must confess that I was a bit thrown by the matches. Why include such? Instinct tells me it’s a cry for help from one of your alternate personalities. But to be fair, there could be a less sinister explanation for you having placed weapons of fire inside international correspondence.

Perhaps you are just absent-minded, and the check covering our last session, which should have been included in this fish-reeking submission (ahem), is instead lying near an ashtray in your game room. Maybe the children have been playing with fire again. (Please DO read that pamphlet I sent you last month, “Adolescence and Arson: Kiddies Who Kill“). Anyway, I’ll assume for now that the matches were a gift. I have no use for them, but thank you.

My point being, we have established that you are in the UK. As we all know, the British have a history of being a bit pushy, running around the globe, conquering things, and turning Australia into a giant penal colony that eventually produced Mel Gibson and vegemite sandwiches. Lots of little colonies everywhere. So surely, other folk in burghs here and there drive on the left as well.

In other words, don’t be self-centered and act like you are the only one forced into inane vehicular situations. It’s fairly common. Most people survive with mental health intact. Even if it does look ridiculous, is pointless, and is the result of the English once again clinging to things that have outlived their usefulness, like figgy pudding and royalty.

And then comes the real whining: “What this means is that I have to pay attention while driving and I don’t like it.”

That, dear expulsion, is the root of your mental flatulence. It’s not that you have to pay attention, you don’t mind paying attention at all, it’s that you have to pay attention to something other than YOURSELF. This notion completely gets under your skin, causes you to snap pencils, makes your face crinkly, and you redirect your anger to innocent targets like dumb-ass local driving rules and how many steps it takes to get to the loo at the Snog and Shag.

We knew it was coming, this eventual conflict with how much you crave attention versus what anyone else in the world might be interested in at the same time. There are warning signs all throughout your files wherein you voraciously tried to steal the spotlight. Let’s review a few incidents, shall we?

Did you really think it was necessary, during your school’s third-grade Christmas production of “Mary, Joseph and a Barn”, to suddenly start turning cartwheels, naked, singing “I Will Survive”, just as they were bringing out the Baby Jesus?

I still have 4 members of that audience as clients to this day.

During that fateful presidential election, at the final debate when it was down to the wire and evenly tied, and you somehow finagled getting to ask the final question, did you think it was appropriate to ask George Bush about his stand on the pending legislation to declare May 28th as International Beaver Emancipation Day?

There was no such pending legislation, even though his staff spent several months trying to support it. Sadly, analysts have since confirmed that this staff work was viewed with great praise by certain segments of the population. In fact, George won the election simply because some people were excited about the prospect of free beaver in the future.

You changed the course of a nation just because you thought it would be fun to talk about beaver on live television. Any guilt there? Just a little?

No. You indirectly set the stage for Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and Dick Cheney, but you’re going to whine about having to drive the Jag on the wrong side of the road. Childish twit.

It’s time for an intervention.

I realize that, with someone so self-centered that they can see out their own butt, your recovery is going to take some serious time and dedication. Your ego wasn’t built in a day. So we’ll start small. I’m going to give you a few exercises.

The next time one of your relatives does something stupid and requires immediate medical attention, please put down the microphone you always carry with you, and at least dial 9-1-1. Do not, as you usually do, consider this an evil attempt to steal your audience. Do not pretend that your cell phone is dead. Do not ask the screaming injured person to tone it down a little so you can continue your interpretive dance about the Stonewall Riots.

The next time you are at the grocery store, and the manager asks you to refrain from singing, kindly do so. Most patrons prefer perusing the produce department without accompanying vocals. This is just human nature. The request for you to cease and desist is not, as you usually assume, due to bitter jealousy over the fact that you can warble a tune while juggling melons. They just want you to shut up.

I understand this will be difficult for you. These are baby steps for most, giant leaps for Razzkind. But I want you to work on this. Try really hard, every day before taking any action, to think about whether the action is appropriate in daily life, or might possibly be a little self-serving. Or in your case, completely self-serving and could possibly result in injury, mass suicide, or World War III.

Please try very hard.

Otherwise, I will have you arrested in the interests of national security, world peace, and biblical pageantry everywhere…

Take care!

Dr. Brian

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Case Study #10

And we have this from sunny California:

Dr. Brian,

My friend from Canada insists on bringing me candy when she visits. The problem is I haven't eaten any of the candy because it is always something called beaver and/or elk droppings. Do you think this is some sort of delicacy there? Is it safe to eat? Am I just being a prude?

Thanks, Margaret


Where to begin? There is such complexity to your paragraph that I do believe we’ll have to break this down very carefully, phrase by phrase, so that we do not miss a single possible contribution to your current dysfunction.

“My friend from Canada”

How did you acquire such a thing? How do you even KNOW someone from there, let alone manage to build your relationship up to the “BFF” level? Was there a snafu involving a misdirected email and a subsequent court order? Did you make a wrong turn on your way to Martha’s Vineyard, followed by the poor decision to just “see where this road goes”?

As most learned professionals are aware, Canadians are a unique class unto themselves. In most mental science textbooks and professional journals, they usually have their own special section, usually with an introduction along the lines of “everything you have just read concerning appropriate social behavior does not apply to the following culture.”

And then there’s the issue that your “friend” can most likely see Sarah Palin from her house. Political convictions and professional analysis aside, that woman is crazy. Your friend is in constant danger of being mistaken as wildlife and gunned down by Sarah or one of her fertile, unmarried children.

For her own safety, your friend should move. Of course, this might mean leaving Canada. And then you would no longer be able to use the artsy phrase “my Canadian friend”, just “my friend”, which will lower your mystique factor and possibly introduce even more complications into your relationship.


Friends don’t insist. On anything. They allow you to do what you need to do in order to avoid unhappiness in life, confinement to a mental institution, or jail time. Friends are there for no other reason than to enable you, provide alcohol, and destroy evidence. Canadetta is not being friendly with the insisting.

“on bringing me candy when she visits.”

The easy explanation here, for most analysts, is that we’re really talking about sex, but I believe in your case we are indeed referring to sugar-based concoctions that children ingest and then refuse to go to bed or to stop bouncing on the pogo stick. So for now, we will operate under the assumption that Canadetta is innocent at this point. Except for the part about being from Canada.

“The problem is”

No, that’s for me to decide.

“I haven’t eaten any of the candy”

Interesting. Right in the middle of a sentence you went into a regressive state. This particular phrase actually refers to a blocked memory from your junior year in high school. Despite your protests to the contrary, everyone knows you were indeed involved in the toilet papering of that house in Golden Thrust Estates. We have primitive video. Let it go.

“because it is always something called beaver and/or elk droppings.”

See, there’s that Canadian thing again. This is why Canadians always have a special section in textbooks.

“Do you think”

Of course I do. All the time.

“this is some sort of delicacy there?”

Chances are strong that it is not, since it’s Canada and all. When was the last time you heard anyone proclaiming the divinity of Canadian food? Never, that’s when. Now, that doesn’t mean they don’t actually eat this mess, and that it may even be quite popular. I don’t know. I have not had the opportunity to observe the locals in action.

It IS clear that there is apparently enough need for this type of thing that companies are producing the product in massive quantities. So either Canadians love to munch on fake poo, or they find great joy in lugging said poo across the border and watching Americans react when they see it on the coffee table.

“Is it safe to eat?”

Nothing is safe to eat. Do you not watch the news? Fresh fruit can take your life in an instant. So feel free to put whatever you want in your mouth, it’s only a matter of time before you bite into something that’s going to repeat. Might as well live it up while you can.

“Am I just being a prude?”

Now THIS is about sex, and has nothing to do with animal byproducts, gifts containing such, or Canadians. You are not a prude. You clearly enjoy sex, and have a healthy and adventuresome attitude about it. This is evidenced by the fact that you once drove toward Martha’s Vineyard. It’s obvious that they have lots of sex there. Otherwise, why would the Kennedys keep going back?

To surmise, it’s a given that you will not be able to rest comfortably until this situation is resolved. I would advise that you take direct action to alleviate the unsatisfactory conditions. As a first step, invite your friend back for another visit, artfully arrange some down time where there are no distractions, pour a few glasses of wine, and then begin.

In a pleasant and non-aggressive tone, (in other words, do not emulate anyone on Fox News), explain that, although you do indeed love a good laugh, and certainly enjoy sweets from time to time, you also enjoy variety, and would greatly appreciate offerings of another sort. Be sure that you tilt your head at the right angle, so that you appear both angelic and non-threatening.

If another insulting bag of candied excrement should appear on the next visit, you move to Phase II. I have consulted with my homies that I counsel in South Dallas, and they assure me this method will work. Calmly flip open your Blackberry, and text your friend the following:

“Bitch, don’t be bringin that moose crap up in my house.”

Canadetta will either never return, or on her next visit will be lugging a benign fruit basket with organically-grown produce.

Let me know how it goes!

Dr. Brian

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Case Study #9

And now we have this missive from an obscure village in Oklahoma where (and I am not making this up to be mean, I have a verified report before me) there have been a number of cows making a break for freedom:

Why does salad taste better when someone else makes it for you?

And Dr. Brian responds:

I must confess, dear quaint but emotionally complex correspondent, that I have truly taken a fancy to your submission. Here in our deluxe offices at Bonnywood Manor, we receive hundreds of contemptible queries that are, quite frankly, not worth the price of admission. If you will allow me to be so direct, my staff is compensated quite handsomely, and it does trouble me that much of their time is spent throwing worthless letters into the recycling bin.

Your inquiry, however, is very much a jewel. So meaty. I’m simply salivating at the prospect of responding. Scholarly saliva, of course. No tawdriness. Here’s hoping that other budding patients out there will learn from your admirable efforts, and quit sending me crudely-drawn cartoons depicting boring incidents wherein they weren’t sufficiently validated at the high school prom.

So why IS it that a salad prepared by someone else is more pleasing to our finicky digestive systems? This is very complex, indeed. Ergo, the salivation.

The basal, fundamental response is that preparing a fully redemptive salad is a tremendous amount of work. Yes, there are those who are satisfied with simply hacking away at a head of lettuce, throwing in a few sliced or diced tomatoes, maybe some dried-out pre-packaged carrot shreddings, and then calling it a done deal.

This is not a salad. This is not even rabbit food. Any rabbit who has attended even the most basic of culinary institutes will look at you with disdain when proffered this pathetic attempt at a salad, and will retreat to the furthest corner of their shelter.

No, a salad worthy of worship and praise requires far more components. There must be cucumber. Perhaps some bell pepper. (Green, red, yellow, reach for the stars.) The somewhat-risky sliced mushroom. The adventurous sliced black olive. Some onion, though I must confess I’m not a fan of leaving a huge ring of onion intact, hack that thing up for better distribution. And some chopped up boiled egg? Nirvana.

My point being, as I always have one, that’s why they pay me, is that the more ingredients you toss into a salad, the more love you share. But it IS a lot of work, very tedious. So if someone is willing to do all that work for you, with the sole intent of making you happy, then you truly have a love salad. And all is good.

But enough of that. Can’t get too emotional. That’s a stipulation of my license. If I had one.

The deeper meaning here, refreshing ray of intellectual sunshine from Kendrick, Oklahoma, is that there is apparently a salad ingredient which you strongly wish to avoid. That’s the root of the matter, if you will excuse the weak gardening pun. One of the choices in the array of available salad options gives you pause, causes hesitation. You hope quite fervently that someone, anyone other than you, is assigned the task of preparing leafy appetizers.

After a lengthy review of various salad components (radishes? tofu? hicima?) and a thorough study of your psychological profile that is easily available on the Internet (might want to secure a few files on your PC, just sayin), the answer became clear: It’s the crouton.

Obviously, there was an incident with a crouton in your troubled past. I don’t know if things were soggy when they shouldn’t have been, or if the seasoning on a particular crouton wasn’t pleasing, or if someone you love lost a tooth after encountering a bricklike example of said baked product. But clearly, you abhor the crouton. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Please speak with Lanae at the front desk to schedule your future sessions. We can work this out.


Dr. Brian

P.S. Please avoid salad bars until we have our next session. Thank you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Case Study #8

This was attached to a rock thrown through one of the office windows last night:

Why does fat chance have the same meaning as slim chance and is what chance is it when its between the two?

And Dr. Brian responds:

First, I'm not certain if there is just a simple typo in your crude submission (I mean really, a rock?), or if the voices in your head are so distracting that you cannot complete a grammatically correct sentence. Let's go with the second explanation, shall we? Much more interesting.

To be fair, I'll start by addressing the superficial question you posed in your amateurish attempt to mask the obvious dementia from which you suffer. (It's apparent that you desperately need validation in any way that you can get it, so if I can toss you a placebo nugget of such here and there, why not?)

Yes, it IS somewhat perturbing that "fat chance" and "slim chance" both refer to little guarantee of success. Kind of irritating, actually. Why can't the hillbillies who make up these colorful local idioms come to some type of official guideline? Don't they have a union? Have a convention, select ONE expression to be used by all, and be done with it.

Let's carry this a step further, and focus on the hazy concept of "chance" itself. Why are the masses always "taking a chance" and composing contradictory slogans about doing so? "Chance" is really not dependable, as we've seen by all the cases of 11-year-olds being arrested for downloading rap songs and adults losing their retirement because they trusted big corporations to have solid 401K's. Not a good track record.

I do understand the seductive allure of "chance". After all, that Swedish rock group, Abba, practically begged us to take a chance on them, and who wouldn't be swayed by rhyming lyrics, thigh-high disco boots, and male back-up singers that only know three words? The call was strong, indeed.

But what happened? Abba broke up. They lied to us. I can empathize that they were all miserable and sick of world fame and each other, but don't sing an enticing disco song seeking our fidelity and then run away and hide, releasing 47 different greatest hits compilations. It's rude.

Now that we've dispensed with analyzing your deceptive query concerning conflicting yokel expressions, let's move on to the meat of the matter:

This is really about Christmas when you were 7, isn't it?

All you really wanted was the Transformers toy with the built-in voice recorder and the Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop. You didn't get either, instead receiving enough socks to last you until adulthood and that dumbass Candyland game that no one in your pre-puberty gang would dare admit to playing. You have been bitter ever since.

This is the real "chance" that torments you. You trusted Santa, and he hit the failblog. And the disappointments have continued throughout the years. Now you're all growed up, working for a huge company, and every time you open an email from corporate you realize that no one is going to give you the Fuzzy Pumper. Sucks.

But you need to move on. I can help you with that. Please speak with Lanae at the front desk to arrange your sessions. Be sure to mention that you are a "red flag". Relax, though, that doesn't mean what you think. Just have faith in me.

Dr. Brian

P.S. Seriously, dude. A rock through the window?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Case Study #7

I found this question scribbled on a post-it note smacked on the windshield of my car:

Why do people not use turn signals as God intended?

And Dr. Brian responds:

Sweetie. I really don't think God has anything to do with it. Do you really believe that an omniscient being is going to concern himself (or HERself, depending on your viewpoints, life choices, and medication) with what the common idiot might or might not be doing whilst operating a pollution-spewing means of transportation?


This is something for the primates to work out amongst themselves.

And, as history has shown, the primates just can't get their act together. They probably could, if each individual primate received a functional and morally-acceptable brain, but there has obviously been poor planning in the distribution system. Packages did not get where they should, ergo, brainless wonders roam the earth in souped-up vehicles with stereo systems that can be heard on Jupiter.

But yes, I do agree that non-signalling idiots on our nation's roadways is a complete outrage. First, I am completely flummoxed as to why a functioning human being is unable to expend the one second it takes to activate a turn signal. Are you really that insipid and heartless? And second, NOT signalling is a CRIME. (Okay, a misdemeanor, but still, paying that fine will cut into your crack budget, and just might stop you from producing another welfare child.)

And that cuts right to the point. Where are the Po-Po when it comes to morons abusing our streets? If they would just pull these people over and give them a citation, we could eventually stop this atrocity. But alas, the police are more concerned with me turning right on red when I shouldn't be, instead of pursuing the non-signalling buttwipe that just zipped across three lanes of freeway traffic to take an exit they should have been prepared for by getting in THE FAR RIGHT LANE A MILE BACK!

Whoopsie. I seem to have worked myself up a bit. Mea culpa. I just don't understand the utter stupidity of my fellow man. But that's MY personal issue.

Back to you, since I will be sending you a bill for this, and therefore must pretend to make the analysis about you and your shallow interactions with society, rather than about me and my much more prescient concerns.

The indications of a slight fold in your post-it note, and the small smear of grape jelly, presumably from your own soiled finger and not from a passing homeless person, is a sure sign that you are not being satisfied in your marital bed. This is very serious, and will require many sessions.

Please speak with Lanae at the front desk to arrange your appointments. And you might want to speak with your insurer, as I foresee that we will be seeing a lot of each other, and I really don't want to deal with any billing issues. Be sure to mention "Post-Coital Post-It Syndrome". It's the latest thing, and they shouldn't have any isssues with the claims you file...

Much love,

Dr. Brian